Packing for the Great Unknown

A quick note about packing, I love the idea of packing. But that’s it. When the time comes to efficiently shove everything I need into a bag, I get bored real quick. The thing is, I love the planning, the making lists, the fantasizing about how i’m going to do such a good job. I imagine scenarios where my peers reach into their own poorly packed bags to find none of the things they need so I can swoop in with just the item they desire; the hero of the travel world. Instead, I make lists, plan for the future, forget about the list, start packing, shove a bunch of things in, take half of them out, get over it, zip it shut and placate myself with”I can just buy it there.” Admittedly, I’m a little worried about this method, as I’m not too sure how stocked the small village north of Accra is with Dove deodorant and Curls Rock Hair Gel.

This brings up a good point. It’s not like i’m packing for a weekend trip to Palm Springs. I’m going to a remote village in West Africa. Two months of having no idea what to expect. Will it be hot all the time or do I need a hoodie? Will electric toothbrushes seem bougie and inappropriate? I feel like I’m blindly guessing the appropriate equipment to pack with me and your talking to a girl that once packed 6 bathing suits to a business trip to Denver.

Not only that, but these past two weeks of planning my pack-job were not complete without an extra level of confusion added to the mix. The day I land in San Francisco (August 29th), I have less than 24 hours to pull everything together before I load up a car and head to burning man. (Hilariously enough, same day-climate as Ghana, just more sequins). My packing process has been a yo-yo of…did I pack the 100% Deet? Where are those flashy lights I can glue to my fur jacket? Do I have enough Malaria meds for the whole time I’m gone? Is the air properly pumped in the tires of my playa bike? My mind feels like a ping pong ball at a college fraternity; basically, I’m all over the place. Almost guaranteed to forget something. Luckily, I have a four-day pit stop in New York that I can use to pick up all the things I missed in San Francisco.

At the end of the day, humans have survived on a lot less. In fact, I need a lot less than I think I do. This might be a good test for me to just let go of some of the stuff “I need” in Africa. Get on with my simple self. Current Lindsay is like “you go girl, get on with your zen life.” Future Lindsay is like “Dammit, you didn’t bring underwear.”

Oh well, guess I won’t know till I get there. Isn’t that exciting 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Packing for the Great Unknown

  1. Hello,
    I volunteer in Kenya. I loved it so much until I put together a Non Profit Organizatiion to care for children globally. I love it

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  2. I have lived in Ghana for over four years now. I am currently on my annual visit to family and inlaws in Kyrgyzstan, but will be back on 7 July. You will not need a hoodie. It isn’t hot all the time. In the summer the rain cools things off. But, it has never been cold while I have been there. Electricity is very unreliable. I live in Adenta and we get 12 hours of electricity followed by 24 off as our regular schedule. But, with the water level low in the dam it looks like things could get worse. So unless you only want to brush your teeth every other day at most don’t bring an electric toothbrush. Ghana is not the same climate as burning man. It is very humid which makes 90 degree heat seem like 200 degrees. Ghanaians don’t use deet so it is hard to find in Ghana. But, if you run out of malaria pills they are easy to get in Ghana. You should see a Ghanaian doctor when running low. As a general rule they are for short term use only and if you are going to be there more than a year the doctor will take you off them at about that time. You will then probably get malaria if you didn’t already, but it won’t kill you. I have a lot on my blog about living and working in Ghana starting in January 2011 when I first arrived in Accra.

    http://jpohl.blogspot.com/

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  3. Hello,
    I’m a Ghanaian and live in Ghana. I think you’re going to love it here and you’ll take lots of fond memories with you at the end of your stay. Don’t worry you are safe.

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